Jan Tomaschoff

It has been written so far a lot about the laughter and psychiatry or psychology. Already a smile of baby and (in positive case) loving reaction of mother are considered as the basis of good feelings, self-confidence and the beginning of teaching of good communication. This should include understanding, compassion but also a bit of tension and sometimes provocation. In contrast to the bossy or hateful speech. And the smile is no longer very far from laughter and humor.

The fact that laughter and cartoons can be abused, is sufficiently known from the past. Insults and humiliations, unfortunately, can be done also using them.

Laughter associated with friendly feelings and a hint of compassion even to those to whom (or to what) we laugh, sometimes even to ourselves, relieves tension, removes the pressure and aggression.

It is not only coincidence that the jokes are often moving at the edge of brutality (black humor), but they allow facilitation. Maybe because the viewer or reader will clarify that the disaster actually does not take place there. The clown stumbles … and nothing happens to him.

Not by accident, that in psychiatry is considered the ability to talk about our problems with humor and wit as a sign that the patient heals. After all, he already is not so afraid of his “enemies” (negative ideas, concerns, unpleasant thoughts) and does not feel himself already helpless when he is making fun of them. He has already a bit of healthy distance from any signs of desease.

Thus, it is possible that laughter really heals.


(author of the article is a recognized German psychiatrist and neurologist as well as a renowned cartoonist and illustrator)


tomaschoff6Drawing by Jan TOMASCHOFF / Germany


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